Friday Rambles: A Curious Question For Bloggers Who Are Also Writers

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If you ever become a published author, would you keep reviewing books honestly?

If you’re a full-time author, you’re going to have much much much less time to read books, let alone write up reviews for them, but hypothetically speaking, I would really love to hear your thoughts on the matter. And if you’re not a writer — just a book blogger — how would you feel about published authors remaining their honesty in reviews?

I personally think this is a really interesting blog topic to talk about. Because a) everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and b) often I’ve only seen authors (who are on Goodreads, for example) rate and review books when they are four or five stars.

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I get it: Mostly it’s about respect for other authors.

It would probably be very degrading seeing an author — especially one that you admire and look up to — rate your book low, and give it a negative review. So I’m guessing that (as well as the obvious time contains) is why a lot of authors don’t chose to express themselves honestly in regards to other books online. I realize that authors try to conduct themselves in a professional manner, and therefore keep their opinions to themselves when they come across a novel that they didn’t like.

Which, to some, might be considered the right thing to do.

But, hang on, let’s take a look at it from another angle.

One of the great things about the internet is that there are endless (and I really do mean endless!) opinions on every topic imaginable. And thanks to sites such as Goodreads, these opinions can be openly shared — and scrutinized — by everyone. Authors, like book reviews, are people. And people have opinions. People are entitled to their opinions — they are entitled to love a book, dislike it, make them laugh and cry, roll their eyes, or make them angry for whatever reason. So why can’t authors share their opinions, too? Besides from respecting another author’s hard work and effort, we are all different people with different opinions.

Reviews do not — or, they should not — be a reflection of the author themselves.

An author puts countless effort and energy into their novel, and if they are lucky enough, they might end up being published in print. But the fact remains that an author is not their book. There are slivers of themselves in there, sure — perhaps someone they know inspired a character, or maybe their novel is set in their childhood home, or perhaps even portions of the storyline has been (either consciously or subconsciously) been embedded into their writing. And that’s fine. But the author is not the novel, and the novel is not the author. Everybody has their own opinions, and should be able to express them freely.

So where do I stand in the matter?

Well . . . if the truth it told, I don’t know. I’m a looooooooooong way of from being published (if that ever happens!) but looking at it from a purely hypothetical angle, I would like to think that in the time I have, I would continue to review books honestly. I love my blog, and I would ideally love to keep it running. So why should that all change because I’d become a published author? But on the other hand, would people accept that? Would fellow authors be offended that I’ve continued to spew my thoughts onto the internet? I honestly don’t know.

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Don’t be shy — I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic! :)

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20 thoughts on “Friday Rambles: A Curious Question For Bloggers Who Are Also Writers

  1. I think that just because you’re published doesn’t mean you can’t be honest in your reviews anymore. However, I can understand why published authors would avoid giving negative ratings/reviews in order to not offend other published authors, some of which may be friends, or friends’ friends…
    Also, as a side question, how do you make the text bigger in your posts??? I’ve been wondering for a while.
    Great post, by the way. xx

  2. I’ve thought about this too, actually! I guess it depends on how popular an author you are. Like if John Green wrote negative reviews about books, I don’t think that would be acceptable. But if you were like a lesser-known author then I guess it wouldn’t matter as much? I’d totally want to keep blogging if I were an author, though :)

    • Yeah, author popularity is definitely something to take into consideration — especially because the negative reviews are just going to reach more people than a less popular author. I think I would keep blogging, too, though I am a little indecisive.

  3. Great discussion! I honestly don’t think I’d review anymore, to be honest. I wouldn’t want to offend anybody. I get that personal opinion is a must and that I’m entitled to what I think, but I’m afraid of being rude. I don’t know. I’m pretty harsh in my negative reviews, and I’d hate to give an author I’m friends with a negative review. I might blog under an alias, though. That might be tough, but I might do that since I’d want to continue blogging because I love sharing my opinion on books. If I were a self-published author, I’d probably still review books but just post 3-5 star reviews.

    • You have some really good points there — I think if an author continues to review honestly, then they’re going to run the risk of offending authors. Even if the review is not aimed at them personally, it doesn’t matter… because seeing a negative review of your book is going to hurt either way, and could effect your relationship with that author.

  4. I agree. I think I would keep reviewing as well because it’s something I love to do. I wouldn’t bash other authors of course, but I also wouldn’t refrain from speaking honestly. Really interesting topic! :)

  5. Oh gosh. This topic is VERY close to my brain at the moment and frankly it scares me. Not that I’m particularly close to being published YET, but I like to plan ahead, you know? And maybe my book will be pitched to publishers in the Near Future, which will be awesome BUT WHAT DO I DO ABOUT MY CAREER IN BLOGGING?!! I love blogging. I love reviewing books. I’ve thought about maybe starting a blog under-cover, with a different name and all that so people never know I’m attached to my books (whenever/if ever they get published). But then what’s the point on that?? I want my blog to be my author platform.

    In all honesty: I think I WILL keep reviewing books and blogging. It’s what I love to do. I attempt not to book bash now, but I mean, I can get a bit snarky. :| THIS IS A GREAT TOPIC OF FRUSTRATION FOR ME. Gaaaah! *ahem* And it does worry me that I legit cannot think of a single author who is a book blogger and traditionally pubbed. author.

    • I think that especially because you’re such a well-known blogger that it would be a shame to not have yourself connected to your books when (YES, WHEN) they are published. That way you know you’ll have people that are willing to pick up your book based on the fact that they enjoy reading your blog.

  6. Gah–this is such a good question! I’ve been drafting a blog post on the same topic, but I just can’t decide what to write! I would probably keep reviewing books, but I would definitely take care never to bash a book or an author. And if I HATED a book, I just wouldn’t review it, I think.

    • Please send me a link to your post if you decide to write it! :) I would really love to read it. And yeah, it’s such a hard question! At the end of the day I don’t think there’s either a right or wrong decision — just a decision, and the author has to deal with its repercussions.

  7. Well, this is a tough question! I’d like to think I’d continue to write honest reviews, but I don’t want to upset anyone so if it’s considered a bad thing to do, I would stop. And if I was in the same blogging circle as these authors, I’d be reluctant to share a negative review unless they expressly say they’re fine with that. But I think everyone and anyone should be allowed to write honest negative reviews without a lash back.

    • Agreed! It’s a really hard situation — especially if you already run a blog with reviews on it, but at the end of the day I feel like people would be judging you for continuing to write negative reviews, even though, really, we are entitled to not like a book.

  8. I know some published authors still review books, but only on their blogs, not on goodreads so that if there’s a negative review and rating it wouldn’t affect the ratings on goodreads. But I think as long as you express your thoughts towards a book honestly and politely it’s okay to still book blog even when you’re published.

  9. I think this is an interesting topic, I have met some authors on goodreads who reviewed books as well and know some authors who even have a blog beside being an author. For some reason it feels a bit weird, but on the other hand I think authors should be able to have a blog and review books if they want to. But those reviews often can’t be seen apart from the author who wrote them. If I where ever to publish a book I wouldn’t want to stop reviewing. I think it’s a difficult descision to make as you reviews do influence the way people think about you as an author as well.

    • Yeah, I can understand the weirdness . . . and I don’t think most people would accept authors writing negative reviews about books. I do really get why that would be an issue — and while an author is not a reflection on their work, so much effort has gone into it, so to see a negative review from another that perhaps they look up to, would be devastating.

  10. I’ve thought about this myself, because I like blogging about books and but I want to have a professional online presence as an author as well. So I compromise by recommending books instead of reviewing them (or you could say, only reviewing books I think are fantastic). Besides, just as a personal preference I like spreading the positive rather than focusing on the negative, and I tend to have more fun rambling about a book I like than one I didn’t, anyway. So, I keep things positive on my blog and save discussions of books I didn’t enjoy for in-person chats. :)

    Of course, that’s just me, and I can see why you’d want to keep writing your own book reviews (both positive and critical ones). I guess it’s just the kind of decision every author (or aspiring author) has to make for themselves.

  11. Ohmygosh I have been thinking SO MUCH about this lately. I’m hoping to be published one day (soon, hopefully), but what will happen to my blog? The thing that I have but time and money and TIME and TIME into. The thing I love almost more than anything else?

    I thought maybe that I would just keep posting positive reviews. I mean, I don’t have that many negative reviews on the blog right now because I have good luck with books (hurrah!), but maybe only when I really like or love a book? I JUST DON’T KNOWWWWW. And it kind of makes my brain hurt. Because I want to be published, and I want to keep my blog.

    I would be hesitant about negative and mediocre reviews simply because I would be an author and I know how much time and effort goes into a writing a book … Oh gosh, this is starting to look like my thoughts on this topic, haha. Which means they look like NOTHING DISCERNIBLE AT ALL.

    I guess WHEN (positive affirmation for the win), I get published, I’ll really think about it in depth – all the pros and cons, and make a decision about it once and for all.

    Maybe.

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